A teacher who was shot by the deranged gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school said he played dead for over an hour in order to survive the massacre.
Arnulfo Reyes spoke about the harrowing ordeal in an interview with ABC News and offered one of the more detailed accounts of the horror inside Robb Elementary School on May 24 that ended with 11 of his students dead.
‘I feel so bad for the parents because they lost a child,’ Reyes told Good Morning America Anchor Amy Robach. ‘But they lost one child. I lost 11 that day, all at one time.’
He said he was watching the animated The Addams Family movie with his students when he heard the first shots ringing out through the school.
‘The kids started asking out loud, “Mr. Reyes, what is going on,” and I said “I don’t know what’s going on but let’s go ahead and get under the table… get under the table and act like you’re asleep,”‘ Reyes told the network’s ‘Good Morning America’.
He explained that under the school’s protocols for school shootings, they train the students to sit under their desks.
‘No training would ever prepare anybody for this,’ he said. ‘It all happened too fast. Training, no training, all kinds of training – nothing gets you ready for this.
‘We trained our kids to sot under the table and that’s what I thought of at the time,’ Reyes continues. ‘But we set them up to be like ducks.’
The 17-year veteran teacher said as went to huddle under a table with the children, he turned around to see Ramos standing there – who then let off a burst of fire into the classroom, striking Reyes three times before he went on to shoot all of his students as cops stood back for more than an hour.
‘They’re cowards,’ Reyes said of the officers on the scene. ‘They sit there and did nothing for our community. They took a long time to go in.
‘I will never forgive them.’
“One of the students from the next-door classroom was saying, ‘Officer, we’re in here. We’re in here,’ but they [police] had already left,” Reyes said.
Reyes said he played dead for an hour and 17 minutes but could hear Ramos going from his classroom to the adjoining classroom to continue his rampage.
Law enforcement officers came back a second time and finally breached the door of Ramos’ classroom before fatally shooting the gunman.
By then, Reyes’ 11 students were dead.
He posted a public message on social media last week thanking friends for their prayers and love.
‘I have long journey ahead, but I know I’ll get through it. My thoughts and prayers are with the families who continue to grieve their loved ones,’ said Reyes, who runs a small plant and gift store when not teaching.
One student who survived the shooting, 10-year-old Khloie Torres, told a 911 dispatcher at 12:10 pm – after the shooting had started – ‘There is a lot of bodies.’
Khloie added that one of her teachers had been shot but was still alive and begged for help from Room 112.
‘I don’t want to die, my teacher is dead, my teacher is dead, please send help, send help for my teacher, she is shot but still alive,’ the desperate girl pleaded.
Reyes is currently recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
Responding law officers in Uvalde have faced heavy scrutiny over their delayed response in taking down the shooter.
The school district chief of police Pete Arredondo wasn’t carrying a radio that day and also treated the incident as a suspect barricade situation as opposed to an active shooter situation.